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November 27, 2012

the Nazis “had more people than they could kill” at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 7:54 am

The title of my blog post today comes from a quote by a British student who recently visited Auschwitz-Birkenau on a “Lessons From Auschwitz” trip organized by the Holocaust Educational Trust.

“The scale of the killings [at Auschwitz-Birkenau] was enormous.

“What shocked me was that they actually had more people here than they could kill. Thank God people survived and there was evidence so people could be brought to justice and tell the story, so something like this will never happen again.”

This student got it right:  Thank God that there were too many to kill, so there were people who survived and could “tell the story.”

One would think that gas chambers would be an efficient way to kill millions of people.  But no! In the inefficient killing system at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the undressing rooms were larger than the gas chamber rooms; it should have been the other way around.  Not all of the naked people in the undressing room could get into the gas chamber.  Yesterday, I blogged about Irene Zisblatt who got stuck in the door of the gas chamber because there were too many people in the undressing room, so that not everyone could get into the gas chamber.  With the best engineers in the world, the Germans could not figure this out in advance!

Blueprint of Krema II, one of the four gas chamber buildings at Birkenau

On the blueprint shown above, the undressing room is on the right. The gas chamber is perpendicular to the undressing room. Notice that the undressing room is three times the size of the gas chamber.  There is an exterior entrance on the north side of the building which opens into a Vorraum (vestibule) so that the SS men could enter the gas chamber, without going through the undressing room. In case of emergency, the gas chamber could be used as a bomb shelter for the SS men working in the area, since it had a gas-tight air raid shelter door.

But there were other ways to kill the Jews at Auschwitz, besides the gas chamber. Why didn’t the Nazis just start shooting the Jews at the end, when they finally realized that they were not going to be able to finish the job?  But no!  The stupid Nazis marched the survivors out of the camp before the Soviet liberators arrived.  Their plan was to march the Jews to death, but it didn’t work.  There were survivors of the “death march” who lived to tell their stories, even to this day.

After fooling the prisoners into thinking that they were going to be saved by marching out of the camp, the Jews were put on a train as soon as they got to the German border.  They could have killed them all by continuing the “death march” until everyone had died.

This quote is also from the article which you can read in full here:

Visiting the main camp, one is struck by the systemic nature of this genocide and the efficiency with which the Nazis carried out their “project”. Not only did they ruthlessly exploit the labour of those they did not kill immediately, but also they looted the belongings the prisoners brought with them, ripped out gold teeth from victims of the gas chamber and shaved off their hair for textile production. A huge pile of this hair is on display in the camp, a sight that brings some pupils to tears.

Wrong, wrong, wrong!  The Nazis were most certainly NOT efficient in their “project.”  Having a labor camp and an extermination camp in the same location was not efficient.  The three Operation Reinhard camps (Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibor) were efficient; you don’t hear many survivors of these camps out on the lecture circuit telling about how they survived.

Ripping gold teeth out of the mouths of the corpses was NOT efficient.  They should have removed the gold teeth before sending the Jews to the gas chamber.  The hair should have been shaved BEFORE sending the Jews to the gas chamber, so that it would not have had to be cleaned.  Just think of the mess that was created by people dying while crammed together in a gas chamber that was too small.

This quote is from the article about the student trip:

Our final destination before flying back to London is Auschwitz II, also known as Birkenau, located just two miles away from the main camp. Birkenau was designated by SS leader Heinrich Himmler as the place of the “final solution of the Jewish question in Europe” – the main site where trains delivered people to the gas chambers from all over German occupied Europe between 1942 and 1944.

Do you see the problem here?  The Nazis waited until 1942 to begin a genocide!  And they stopped in November 1944 when the ovens were removed from the crematoria at Birkenau.

So now you know why there are so many Holocaust survivors.  They simply “had more people than they could kill” at Auschwitz-Birkenau. It would have been more efficient to have had many small gas chambers at many small camps where the Jews could have been killed locally, instead of having a 425 acre site at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where Jews could get lost in the 300 barrack buildings, never be seen again by their family members.